MUST READ - Open Badges - Portable Learner Achievements

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    Open Badges:

    Portable rewards forlearner achievementsA MyKnowledgeMap

    white paper

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    Open Badges:Portable rewards forlearner achievements

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    Contents

    Introduction

    Why do we need portable rewards?

    What are Open Badges?

    How do Open Badges work?

    Whats the technology behind the badges?

    How secure are Open Badges?

    Open Badges, assessment & lifelong portfolios

    Open Badges & national skills infrastructures

    Open Badges & online learning Open Badges & capability management

    Still reading? Give yourself a reward

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    Introduction

    W ?

    Modern learners are engaging in education, training and personaldevelopment in new and exciting ways, recording progress, skills and

    achievements using disparate and innovative technologies. With somuch activity taking place across so many different systems, applica-tions and locations, it can be difficult to get recognition for the skillsthat learners are gaining and demonstrating and even more difficultto get that recognition in a format that learners can use and share.

    Even if achievements are recorded, technology generally haslimited functionality for exporting, transferring and sharing themin the ways that modern learners need to. This issue becomes evenmore acute as learners transition from one organisation or institutionto another, often unable to take their record of achievements withthem.

    Interoperability between e-portfolio tools, Learning ManagementSystems and student Management Information Systems is increasingand standardised formats for data transfer are emerging but these,in most cases, require a compatible system to import these recordsinto. Its also easy, when exporting and importing achievement data,to lose the validation aspects of the achievement and therefore the

    integrity of the claim.

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    W O B?

    Awarding badges for achievement and recognition of skills is no newinnovation. Cast your mind back to childhood when swimming metres, or carving a tent peg with a pen knife would gain you a sew-on badge.

    Each badge could be used as demonstrable proof that a skill hadbeen learnt and proven, and the badge itself would be evidence of theauthority that issued the award. Whats more, these badges would becollected and displayed in a single place (a shirt sleeve, a neckerchief,a swimming towel) allowing the owner to show their achievementsto all.

    The Open Badge Initiative, from Mozilla, aims to provide a platformwhere this approach to the recognition of skills and achievements can

    be replicated, albeit in a digital way. Mozilla describe Open Badgesthrough their websitein the following terms:

    Learning today happens everywhere but its often difficult to

    get recognition for skills and achievements gained outside

    of school. Mozillas Open Badges project is working to solve

    that problem, making it easy for any organisation or learning

    community to issue, earn and display badges across the web.

    The result: recognising st century skills, unlocking career and

    educational opportunities, and helping learners everywherelevel up in their life and work.

    http://www.openbadges.org/

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    Its not just achievement of skills or milestones that can be re-warded by issuing Open Badges, they can also be used to reward andreinforce positive behaviours. As the administrator of an issuing appli-

    cation you could distribute badges to learners who, for example, keepregular learning journals, or members who continue to dedicate timeto continuing professional development or even tutors who regularlymeet their student feedback SLAs.

    The dynamic nature of Open Badges, and the data they can con-tain, means that its possible to award badges for almost any systemachievement, behaviour or action.

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    H O B ?

    The Mozilla Open Badge project provides a technical definition forhow Open Badges can be created, stored and shared providing anapproach to interoperability, not for the systems using Open Badges,but for the badges themselves.

    This simple processdemonstrates how badges can be issued bya range of bodies, collected by an individual, stored in a central ap-plication (owned and managed by the individual) and then shared indifferent contexts.

    Adapted from http://openbadges.org/en-US/about.html#how-it-works

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    This model is intentionally straight forward and employs three keystakeholders:

    Issuerscreate and award badges for the completion oftasks and activities as well as the demonstration of skillsand competence.Earnersare individuals who complete tasks, demonstrateskills and earn badges.Displayersprovide a platform for earners to show theirbadges, or selections of badges, within different contexts.

    A beta-phase earner-centric application is provided by Mozilla to

    support the collection of badges from multiple sources The BadgeBackpack. The Backpack gives users a central location for storage oftheir badges and implements all of the functionality needed to pre-vent spamming of unwanted badges into a backpack.

    The open nature of the badge specification doesnt just tie usersto the Mozilla backpack but leaves the platform open for anyone toprovide the backpack for collected badges, even allowing users todownload their badges to store themselves.

    W ?

    Mozilla Open Badges have been designed to be totally portableand make use of the ability to embed additional information intoa PNG image (a standardised and non proprietary image format).By incorporating a reference to a badge description, hosted by thebadge issuer, along with information about the individual, a genericbadge image can be re-encoded to provide a personalised badge foran individual a portable badge that can be owned and used by theindividual however they may require.

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    H O B?

    The Open Badge specification dictates that the information encodedwithin the PNG image is minimal (a single assertionURL) and thatthe information that validates the badge be hosted and maintainedby the issuer. This means that theres very little within a badge thatcan be tampered with, and validation of the badge can be achieved byquickly and simply reading the information held in the assertion.

    The assertion itself is again simple in its construction and providesdetails of the individual the badge was issued to (hashed using SHAencryption or similar) as well as details of the issuing body. The asser-

    tion also references the criteria for the badge which is also hosted bythe issuer. In fact, the only thing not held by the issuing body is thebadge itself. Security and validation of the badge is therefore main-tained by the provision of a valid assertion served by the issuing body.

    You can read more about the technical specification for MozillaOpen Badges at https://wiki.mozilla.org/Badges/Onboarding-Issuer.

    An assertion is a small snippet of data (in JSON format) that is held and served bythe issuer of the badge describing it, the owner and the badge criteria.

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    Using a combination of automatically issued badges along withbadges created by tutors and administrators to recognise specificskills, a portfolio of personal achievements can be created that astudent can take with them, using and reusing in all of the contextsof their lifelong learning journey.

    Its also possible, using Open Badges, to reward the positive behav-iours and attributes of a learner outside the achievement of skills orparticular milestones.

    Open Badges could be used in an equally powerful way to demon-strate the commitment of a learner or their ability to support theircolleagues all of the additional skills that can help a candidate standout when entering the world of work.

    As well as issuing badges, a toolset for collection and display canalso be provided both for those issued internally and for those

    collected from other sources. This type of functionality can be usedto support learners with the demonstration of vitally important lifeskills as well as those gained on placements and in the field: learnerscan be given their own web showcase where they can display badgesand contextualise them with a supporting narrative.

    Top marks Blogger

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    Open Badges & national skills

    infrastructures

    Recording and validating skills, experiences and abilities is at the coreof online national skills infrastructures, especially in industries wherean accepted set of predefined competencies and training standardsexists.

    In the nuclear industry in the UK, for example, a set of Basic Com-mon Induction Standards are recognised across the industry, andachievement of this is tracked using a Skills Passport system open toeverybody working in the industry. In the Railway Engineering sector,contractors employed by a range of organisations work on the lines,but training requirements are set and tracked centrally by NetworkRail and the National Skills Academy for Railway Engineering.

    Fire safetygrade

    First aider

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    Open Badges offer a unique approach to the recording of trans-ferable skills and the documentation of validated training. Buildingfunctionality for the issue of badges, by approved training providers,and the collection of badges within skills passports, could provideusers and members with rich, portable portfolios of competence thatcan be read and validated quickly and easily.

    The role of a national skills body doesnt have to end at the issue ofbadges but could also extend into the provision of an industry specificbackpack a space for the collection of relevant badges tied directlyto a users personal skills passport.

    When combined with embedded issue dates and expiry dates,Open Badges could be adapted to support and enrich not only per-sonal skills records but also systems that manage compliance withinan organisation or industry.

    PTS Trainingprovider

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    Open Badges & online learning

    Certificates for learning and CPD records have long been a staple ofpersonal records of achievement, CVs, resumes and job applications.In the age of online learning, however, it can be more difficult thanever to obtain proof of these achievements in a format that can beeasily extracted and shared. Open Badges offer a unique solution tothis problem, providing learners with a library of badges each one

    demonstrating completion of an online course, achievement of arequired quiz score or completion of a set number of CPD hours.

    Using Open Badges its possible to reward more than just achieve-ment of specific milestones. Positive behaviours, such as commit-ment to monthly CPD or regular forum interaction, can also berewarded in exactly the same way.

    Using a combination of automatically issued badges along withbadges created by training managers and LMS administrators torecognise specific skills, a portfolio of personal achievements can be

    created that a learner can take with them, using and reusing in all ofthe contexts of their lifelong learning journey.

    CPD hours Employeementor

    Coursecomplete

    Coursescomplete

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    Open Badges & capability

    management

    The subjective and self-analysis nature of capability managementsystems makes automatic awarding of Open Badges a little more dif-ficult than in other applications. There are, however, a range of posi-tive behaviours that can be rewarded through the use of Open Badges

    as well as actions that an individual may see benefit in showcasing.

    Badges, like the ones above, could be designed to demonstratean individuals commitment to their personal development andto the processes in place within an organisation. The Open Badgemechanism could also provide visual indicators of compliance againstcertain skills maps, or proficiency in those maps set at a system con-figurable level % for example. When combined with embeddedexpiry dates Open Badges could be adapted to support and enrich notonly capability management processes but also systems that manage

    compliance within an organisation or industry.

    Successful result

    Personaldevelopment

    plan built

    Firstassessmentcomplete

    Skills mapproficient

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    Still reading?

    Give yourself a reward

    We think that Open Badges represent an innovative and exciting ap-proach to recognition of achievement and skills and wed like to workwith you to bring this to your learners and users. But, to really under-stand how Open Badges work we think you should give them a try.

    To help you get started with your own Open Badge Backpack wedlike to award you one of your first badges the MyKnowledgeMapOpen Badge Awareness badge as recognition of your new under-standing of Open Badges. Just follow this link and provide your de-tails, including the code below, and youll be able to send this badgedirectly to your backpack.

    http://ob-awareness.myknowledgemap.com/

    ----

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    If youd like to know more about Open Badges and how they cansupport your own applications and initiatives then wed love to talkwith you. Just get in touch with your account manager or give us a

    call and well be happy to help + () .

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    MyKnowledgeMap Limited,

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    MyKnowledgeMap

    - Micklegate, York, YO JHUnited Kingdom

    + () www.myknowledgemap.com